Southern Illinois has a long history of providing high quality fruits and vegetables throughout the entire state. After all, that’s how it became known as Little Egypt. Our peaches are famous for their taste and our strawberries even motivated the first refrigerated rail car shipment in history for a trip from Cobden to Chicago in 1847.
It’s that tradition of growing fresh, quality food and entrepreneurial spirit that has spurred a prolific growth of small-scale family farmers in Southern Illinois. To highlight the rapid expansion of small-scale sustainable agriculture in the region, Neighborhood Co-op Grocery will sponsor a Fall Farm Crawl that will feature 20 farms across five counties in Southern Illinois.
The crawl will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22. The tour is self-guided, which means that folks can visit whichever farms they choose between 1 and 6 p.m. A detailed Farm Crawl map and guide will be provided by those who sign up. The cost is $15 ($12 for Co-op owners) to take part in the crawl, which includes a 2013 Fall Farm Crawl t-shirt. To register,click here.
By visiting the farms of your choice, you can learn first-hand about the various sustainable farming techniques our local farmers use to grow their fruits and vegetables. Subjects could include crop rotation, cover crops, insect and weed control, composting and more. This is also a great chance to get to meet local family farmers face-to-face. The tour includes a wide diversity of growers, including those who produce a variety of fruits, specialty herbs and vegetables; shiitake and oyster mushrooms; as well as chickens, goats and livestock. Other farms feature hops for brewing frosty beverages as well as grapes for our local wines.
Produce will be available for purchase at some farms. Beverages and prepared food will be available at the two wineries and the brewery. To register, please go here.
For more information, please contact Jerry Bradley, the Co-op’s Outreach & Owner Services Coordinator at 618.967.4196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.